In This Chapter
fter the game requirements are determined, the game plan is created.
The game plan defines the following:
What work must be done.
What order the work is done.
Who will do the work.
When the work must be completed.
All the information generated during the requirements phase is needed in
order to make an accurate game plan. There are many useful project management
books that provide detailed information on creating project plans. Most of these
techniques are applicable to game development, although some modifications
might be necessary. Project Planning Scheduling and Control, Third Edition,
Chapter 16Chapter 16
262 THE GAME PRODUCTION HANDBOOK, 2/E
by Jim Lewis is recommended reading, as it provides practical and easy-to-
understand information about creating project plans and managing projects.
Keep in mind that the game requirements might change after the initial
game plan is completed. For example, the plan might show that the game will be
too expensive to make, and some of the requirements will need to be adjusted to
lower the cost. After the initial game plan is completed, expect to make changes
to it during production. In order to create a solid game plan, it is important to
understand the dependencies of the schedule, budget, and staffing plan.
If the budget, schedule, and staffing needs are not planned during pre-production,
you cannot manage these elements efficiently during the development process.
In some cases, the feature set of the game might need to change in order to
accommodate a change in schedule, such as a request by the publisher to ac-
celerate the release date. Therefore, factoring in the allotted time (schedule),
available staff and budget (resources), the feature set of the game (features), and
what quality is expected, such as next-generation graphics (quality), is extremely
important when putting together your game plan.
Figure 16.1 illustrates this dependency between the schedule, resources,
features, and quality. If one of these factors changes, it will affect the other three
factors. If all of these factors are constantly changing during the development
cycle, the project is never stable and is always at risk. One of the producer’s
biggest challenges while managing the game development process is striking
a balance between the schedule, resources, features, and quality. As stated
throughout this book, all development teams are different and never have the
exact same processes in place or risks to mitigate, but the producer’s ultimate
FIGURE 16.1 Dependencies among budget, schedule, and features.